Almushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) supports Senate Bill to amend the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 to ‘strengthen’ operations of NGOs in Nigeria.
In a memorandum compiled by AITA and presented by its Managing Consultant; Dr (Mrs.) Juliet H. O. Muoneme during Senate public hearing at the senate house sponsored by Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), AITA opined that the amendment is necessary as that will address basic issues restricting the smooth running of Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria.
The bill seeks to amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, is a bill that seeks to strengthen the operations of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) in Nigeria which has scaled second reading at the Senate.
Besides increasing the effectiveness of NGOs in Nigeria, the legislation is also aimed at introducing measures that address regulatory issues relating to registration, administration and merger of such organizations.
One major provision the bill seeks to amend, is to allow NGOs to provide annual returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) once in a year, against the current law which mandates NGOs to make such submissions twice in a year.
The second reading was sequel to a deliberation on the details and proposed amendments contained in the bill.
AITA and many other NGOs are clamoring for amendment of Part F of CAMA due to its far-reaching implications. Churches have also condemned the law for what is seen as government inference with religious rights.
It will be recalled that there have been several reactions to CAMA since its coming into effect in August 2020, especially by NGOs. While the business community lauded the law for promoting the ease of doing business, the non-profit community, comprising civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, community groups, etc. expressed reservations against several provisions of the Act governing the operations of non-profit organizations, especially those registered as Incorporated Trustees under ‘Part F’ of CAMA.
NGOs worry that CAMA represents a major concern for civic space. Several of the provisions of CAMA appeared to lay an onerous burden on NGOs regarding reporting and compliance issues.
According to AITA, this burden may have been imposed to hinder NGOs activities and contribute to widening concerns about shrinking civic space in Nigeria. AITA also opted that the bill if passed into law will certainly alleviate some of these concerns.